Traveling to Lithuania turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know what to expect from this tiny Baltic country, as I barely knew few things about it. It turned out to be an amazing and unique country, which lead me to want to get to know more about it.
That wasn’t a problem at all, as working with kids for two weeks was more than a great pleasure for finding out a lot of interesting facts about their country. And not just that…
Children in Lithuania were just breathtaking. Already the first day, they blow my mind with some information, with amazing knowledge of English and after two weeks of working with them, I found myself wanting to stay longer.
With my friends, I was talking should this be the generation – that’s why they are so knowledgeable, passionate about reading and deriving information from every possible source around them, or is it some cultural phenomenon. I still think it’s the culture, as I really don’t know kids like them (in my country at least).
Anyway, while talking with my friend, I agree on following what she said that we have learned after two weeks of working with them:
that good behavior is really cool;
that you should not avoid any activity with kids as that’s a great opportunity to learn something new;
that the coolest guy is the one that is not afraid to be ridiculous in front of others;
that enthusiasm is contagious;
that working on yourself is only constant you need to keep track of;
that we should not be afraid to be special;
that if someone is quiet does not mean that he/she is not interesting;
that girls who are reading a lot and traveling a lot while young are growing to become amazing women.
Yes, and a lot more. For instance, however they finish the task we gave them, it’s good – our job is to make sure that we create an environment where the doors of imagination can re-open and stay open. And to let them know that what is called imagination and fantasy now is called creativity or creative thinking later on, and is something older kids study at university! They taught us that we have to expect completely new sides of them when we work with them through co-creative design processes. They showed us their way of solving problems, the curiosity to try out things they’ve never tried in school, new methods of learning, working in teams, helping out their peers, and doing things that—at the beginning of the day—they thought they would never be able to do. Or how they go from being shy to stand in front of a crowd, explaining what they have come up with, and why it’s so good.
They show us that kids from 10-11 years know how to drive a skateboard, ride a horse, ride a bicycle, have their own YouTube channels in English, that most of the things they know – they have learned from video games, that they are terribly curious about the science, technology, and humans, but also that in Lithuania they don’t have poisonous snakes – except for one species – which is very rare, that in the ocean there is a creature more intelligent than dolphins, that muffins are terribly funny, that anime movies are too sexual even for boys.
They connected me back to the joy of doing things just for fun, and they can find fun in the simplest ways, like making a little bubble machine from the ventilator, that spewed bubbles into the walkway. When was the last time you saw something as simple as bubbles with the kind of enthusiasm and pure joy?
That’s not the end. They taught us about the white holes, and that curing and treatment through thoughts are feasible, that the perfect sarcasm is not reserved just for adults, that self-irony is a sign of self-awareness, that in Lithuania they have some rare species of mushrooms called “the death of the fly” and that it looks like Super Mario’s mushroom; that learning how to play chess is like learning a language – you have universal rules that need to learn before you can have a game – or communicate – with someone else. When you learn them, it is hard to forget them. When you are learning how to use grammar and sentences, it’s the same as learning how each chess piece moves. “That’s why I like learning new languages. The same way as I like playing chess.” ; they taught us, and kind of ruin my childhood, that Super Mario was never once in real danger. Cause he is at a stage show, stage performance. A play with its hanging blocks, curtains opening at the beginning, etc.
They taught us that the Lithuanian language is more ancient than Greek, Latin, German, Celtic, or the Slav. It belongs to the Indo-European group and is nearest to Sanscrit; and that the Lithuanian word for ‘thank you’ (Ačiū) sounds like the English sneeze word ‘Achoo!’
To the point: Working with Lithuanian kids wasn’t hard, it was thrilling, most of all it’s good fun and amazingly awesome to be let into their world. It’s inspiring to be a part of their development, and it’s awesome to see the results they produce throughout the time. So I am willing to see some of them when they grow up. I hope their doors of imagination would still be open.
Tri poloski, guys